14/11/2012 15:39 GMT

Europe Anti-Austerity Protests: Anger In Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal Spreads To Brussels

Chaos that raged across Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal has spread to the heart of Brussels as police clashed with furious protesters during the Day of Action which has seen 40 groups from 23 countries staging walk-outs and strikes.

The figures on the economic crisis in southern Europe speak for themselves. In Greece the economy shrank by 7.2% over the last year. Protests in the Greek capital on Wednesday, after late night riots the previous evening, were smaller scale and peaceful, organisers told the Guardian.

Portugal's economy shrank by 0.8% in the third quarter of the year, more than was expected, and meaning the GDP is lower than when it accepted a €78bn bailout.


Worker holds placards reading "We are all Greek, enough austerity", during a demonstration against austerity, in Marseille, southern France

Unemployment hit a high of 15.8%. Marches and demonstrations have taken place in 40 cities across the nation.

The southern nations have faced the harshest austerity measures and the worst unemployment figures.

Italy and Spain have seen some of the most violent outburst throughout the day, as members of Italy's student unions clashed with riot police as the students marked a four-hour general strike.


Riot police apprehend a protestor during a general strike in Madrid, Spain

Far-right groups in Rome smash a barricade to pour into the palazzo square in Rome where Prime Minister Mario Monti lives, and where the budget is being voted on Tuesday afternoon. Three policemen have been reported as injured.

Elsewhere, shop windows were smashed in Milan, with banks targeted by protesters who congregated in the city's Piazza Duomo for a demonstration organised by the Italian CGIL trade union.


Demonstrators clash with policemen in riot gear during a protest against Italian Government austerity measures in Rome

In Turin, the demonstrators carried a model dragon with a placard in its jaws, saying: "Work" (the dragon represents financial elites). Eggs were hurled at the local tax agency building.

In Spain and Portugal, clashes have continued, with both countries grinding to a halt over 24 hours in the first co-ordinated general strike.

Tyres were burnt on the streets of Madrid and police arrested more than 60 people by mid-morning. Riot police fired rubber bullets into the air and struck protesters with batons in the centra Plaza de Cibeles square, AFP said.


A protester shouts slogans during an anti-austerity protest in Athens

Rallies have also been taking place in France and Greece, and on London's Oxford Street. It is the third strike in Greece in the last two months.

Anger at the European Union has hit its home city of Brussels, as Belgian rail workers protested causing delays on local services and Eurostar.